Look after your feet... and they will look after you.
Back to the basics, down to the ground, if you like. If you have beautiful, skinny feet and can spend hours in high heels, then you don't need to read this. This is for the rest of us.
You will be walking around (San Francisco is a walking-public transport sort of city) and on your feet a lot at the conference. You may even, gasp, have to put on high heels at some point.
So how do you keep your little piggies happy?
- Do not, ever, ever, ever, expect a pair of shoes that don't feel comfortable the moment you try them on to get better. Maybe I should amend that. Eventually--many blisters later after your feet have sculpted the inside of the shoes to their liking--they'll be okay. If in doubt, leave them at home.
- Do bring a pair of slopping around shoes. I always bring what I refer to as the "dress flip-flops." They have a slight wedge and a surprising amount of support. Your slopping around shoes may be sandals or sneakers or even, amazingly, something that looks good.
- Bring as many shoes as you think you'll need and don't be afraid to throw some away while you're there. (You'll need the space for books. Since my major shoe purchases are at Payless, it's no biggie.)
- Put your feet up (discreetly) when you can.
- Treat your feet to a nice soak or scrub at least once a day.
- Have a pedicure before you fly out.
- If you really, really hate the feel of shoes on bare feet, invest in some lowcut socks or hose. I have been told that you can tame elegant shoes on bare feet by slathering them (feet) in lotion. This sounds so vile I can hardly bear to think about it, which brings me to...
It can happen to the best of us.
Say you have a pair of really reeking shoes but you love them and must wear them at Nationals. You may be able to tame them by tying them firmly into a plastic bag with a couple of teabags (black tea, nothing fancy) or bicarbonate of soda inside the shoes. When the growling and writhing in the bag subside, open with caution. And don't make tea with those teabags.
You can even try placing a teabag into the shoes as you wear them, although bear in mind that the bags may break and you'll leave a trail of dampened tealeaves behind you.
Spray the offending shoes sparingly with a weak bleach solution (inside, and if it ruins your shoes, don't come crying to me. I have no professional qualifications). A "green" bathroom cleaner is pretty good.
Or--it's so obvious--get a foot deodorant. This stuff, Lavilin, is weird. It's bright blue-green, it smells funny, but it works and you only have to put it on every few days. You can buy it and other products (including some that make me grateful that my feet are only ugly and huge) at footsmart.com. Great selection of shoes there, too, for people who have horrible feet and/or difficult to find sizes.
I like this stuff too, made by Boots (the beloved British company, products available in the US at Target and at this site)--it's a foot and leg spritz with echinacea and feels delicious.
And if you're not totally grossed out, what footcare tips do you have?